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Illustration student creates winning designs for SailGP’s Great Britain Sail Grand Prix merchandise

A student illustrator and animator has won a competition to design the artwork that will appear on SailGP’s Great Britain Sail Grand Prix merchandise.

Emma Beavis, who specialises in immersive storytelling, scored highest in the competition to design a T-shirt that celebrates the ocean and all it represents.

Depicting the theme ‘The ocean is our playground – Play & Protect’, Emma’s winning artwork combines Smeaton’s Tower, a variety of sea life and the event’s iconic sailing vessels across three striking designs.

“I was immediately captured by the motion and strength of the boats,”

said Emma, a 3rd year undergraduate on the BA (Hons) Illustration degree.

“As my specialism is animation, I wanted to convey motion by creating a flowing focal point with seagulls guiding you towards Smeaton’s Tower where the boat is heading. The biodiversity of the sea is captured through delicate illustrations of marine life as they push the boat through the water, surrounded by oxygenating sea grass and powerful waves.”

The celebration of nature’s essential elements with the ocean playing a central role was the foundation of the brief for the competition. And in addition to capturing the essence of SailGP’s Race for the Future initiatives – racing for a better future, championing a world powered by nature – the winning design would be used within a fashion capsule to inspire people to protect and preserve the ocean and all it sustains.

“I was also inspired by the teams on board,”

added Emma.

“Their body language was dynamic and strong as they moved across the boat, and it felt important for me to include them in the design and offer recognition for how they work in harmony with the ocean. Powered by nature and guided by man – a sustainable collaboration.”

Four judges – SailGP CEO Sir Russell Coutts, University of Plymouth Programme Leader Illustration Ashley Potter, and Richard Mason and Charlotte Koostra from the Great Britain SailGP Team – voted on all the entries, with Emma’s design winning ahead of runners-up, Isabel Keen and Eleanor James.

Ashley, Programme Lead for Illustration, said:

“SailGP’s combination of exciting sport on an international level and its global positive care and concerns for the environment is terrific. External live briefs from top clients such as SailGP are so important to students – as a policy we give every student the opportunity to enter live briefs throughout their studies. These briefs are where students can put their learned practical and research skills with conceptual thinking into real-world scenarios – it raises each student’s game and it’s wonderful to see them rise to the occasion.”

Ashley added:

“The fact that Plymouth is the event venue for the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix helps to establish the city as an international destination. The fabulous geographic location is ideal for such a visual event. Emma has captured the spirit of competition as well as subtly including the ‘action’ below the waves. Her love of animation and transformation has been brought into a ‘static’ design giving it life.”

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